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ADMIN LAW POLICE POWER A.K.A.

GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE


Title: Tano v. Socrates G.R. No. 110249
Date: August 21, 1997
Ponente: Davide Jr., J.
ALFREDO TANO, BALDOMERO TANO, DANILO TANO,
ROMUALDO TANO, TEOCENES MIDELLO, ANGEL DE MESA,
EULOGIO TREMOCHA, FELIPE ONGONION, JR.,ANDRES
LINIJAN, ROBERT LIM, VIRGINIA LIM, FELIMON DE MESA,
GENEROSO ARAGON, TEODORICO ANDRE, ROMULO DEL
ROSARIO, CHOLITO ANDRE, ERICK MONTANO, ANDRES
OLIVA, VITTORIO SALVADOR, LEOPOLDO ARAGON, RAFAEL
RIBA, ALEJANDRO LEONILA, JOSE DAMACINTO, RAMIRO
MANAEG, RUBEN MARGATE, ROBERTO REYES, DANILO
PANGARUTAN, NOE GOLPAN, ESTANISLAO ROMERO,
NICANOR DOMINGO, ROLDAN TABANG, ADRIANO
TABANG, FREDDIE SACAMAY, MIGUEL TRIMOCHA,
HON. GOV. SALVADOR P. SOCRATES, MEMBERS OF
PACENCIO LABABIT, PABLO H. OMPAD, CELESTINO A.
SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN OF PALAWAN, namely,
ABANO, ALLAN ALMODAL, BILLY D. BARTOLAY, ALBINO D.
VICE-GOVERNOR JOEL T. REYES, JOSE D. ZABALA,
LIQUE, MELCHOR J. LAYSON, MELANIE AMANTE, CLARO E.
ROSALINO R. ACOSTA, JOSELITO A. CADLAON, ANDRES R.
YATOC, MERGELDO B. BALDEO, EDGAR M. ALMASETA,
BAACO, NELSON P. PENEYRA, CIPRI-ANO C. BARROMA,
JOSELITO MANAEG, LIBERATO ANDRADA, JR.,ROBERTO
CLARO E. ORDINARIO, ERNESTO A. LLACUNA, RODOLFO C.
BERRY, RONALD VILLANUEVA, EDUARDO VALMORIA,
FLOR-DELIZA, GILBERT S. BAACO, WINSTON G. ARZAGA,
WILFREDO MENDOZA, NAPOLEON BABANGGA, ROBERTO
NAPOLEON F. ORDOÑEZ and GIL P. ACOSTA, CITY MAYOR
TADEPA, RUBEN ASINGUA, SILVERIO GABO, JERRY
EDWARD HAGEDORN, MEMBERS OF SANGGUNIANG
ROMERO, DAVID PANGGARUTAN, DANIEL PANGGARUTAN,
PANLUNGSOD NG PUERTO PRINCESA, ALL MEMBERS OF
ROMEO AGAWIN, FERNANDO EQUIZ, DITO LEQUIZ,
BANTAY DAGAT, MEMBERS OF PHILIPPINE NATIONAL
RONILO MODERABLE, BENEDICTO TORRES, ROSITO A.
POLICE OF PALAWAN, PROVINCIAL AND CITY
VALDEZ, CRESENCIO A. SAYANG, NICOMEDES S. ACOSTA,
PROSECUTORS OF PALAWAN and PUERTO PRINCESA CITY,
ERENEO A. SEGARINO, JR.,WILFREDO A. RAUTO,
and ALL JUDGES OF PALAWAN, REGIONAL, MUNICIPAL
DIOSDADO A. ACOSTA, BONIFACIO G. SISMO, TACIO
AND METROPOLITAN,
ALUBA, DANIEL B. BATERZAL, ELISEO YBAÑEZ, DIOSDADO
respondents
E. HANCHIC, EDDIE ESCALICAS, ELEAZAR B. BATERZAL,
DOMINADOR HALICHIC, ROOSEVELT RISMO-AN, ROBERT C.
MERCADER, TIRSO ARESGADO, DANIEL CHAVEZ, DANILO
CHAVEZ, VICTOR VILLAROEL, ERNESTO C. YBAÑEZ,
ARMANDO T. SANTILLAN, RUDY S. SANTILLAN, JODJEN
ILUSTRISIMO, NESTOR SALANGRON, ALBERTO
SALANGRON, ROGER L. ROXAS, FRANCISCO T. ANTICANO,
PASTOR SALANGRON, BIENVENIDO SANTILLAN, GILBUENA
LADDY, FIDEL BENJAMIN, JOVELITO BELGANO, HONEY
PARIOL, ANTONIO SALANGRON, NICASIO SALANGRON, &
AIRLINE SHIPPERS ASSOCIATION OF PALAWAN,
petitioners
FACTS
 The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing the constitutionality of:
o Ordinance No. 15-92 entitled: "An Ordinance Banning The Shipment Of All Livefish And Lobster Outside Puerto
Princesa City From January 1, 1993 To January 1,1998 And Providing Exemptions, Penalties And For Other
Purposes Thereof"
o Office Order No. 23, requiring any person engaged or intending to engage in any business, trade, occupation,
calling or profession or having in his possession any of the articles for which a permit is required to be had, to
obtain first a Mayor’s and authorizing and directing to check or conduct necessary inspections on cargoes
containing live fish and lobster being shipped out from Puerto Princesa and,
o Resolution No. 33, Ordinance No. 2 entitled: "A Resolution Prohibiting The Catching, Gathering, Possessing,
Buying, Selling And Shipment Of Live Marine Coral Dwelling Aquatic Organisms”
 The petitioners contend that the said Ordinances deprived them of due process of law, their livelihood, and unduly
restricted them from the practice of their trade, in violation of Section 2, Article XII and Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII
of the 1987 Constitution and that the Mayor had the absolute authority to determine whether or not to issue the
permit.
 They also claim that it took away their right to earn their livelihood in lawful ways; and insofar as the Airline Shippers
Association are concerned, they were unduly prevented from pursuing their vocation and entering "into contracts
which are proper, necessary, and essential to carry out their business endeavors to a successful conclusion.
 Public respondents Governor Socrates and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan defended the
validity of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993, as a valid exercise of the Provincial Government's power under the general
welfare clause; they likewise maintained that there was no violation of the due process and equal protection clauses
of the Constitution.
ISSUE/S
Whether or not Ordinance 15-92 enacted by Sanguniang Panglungsod and Order No. 23 by Acting Mayor Lucero are within
the limits of police power. YES
RATIO
 The Supreme Court found the petitioners contentions baseless and held that the challenged ordinances did not suffer
from any infirmity, both under the Constitution and applicable laws. There is absolutely no showing that any of the
petitioners qualifies as a subsistence or marginal fisherman.
 Since the Constitution does not specifically provide a definition of the terms "subsistence" or "marginal" fishermen,
they should be construed in their general and ordinary sense. A marginal fisherman is an individual engaged in fishing
whose margin of return or reward in his harvest of fish as measured by existing price levels is barely sufficient to yield
a profit or cover the cost of gathering the fish, while a subsistence fisherman is one whose catch yields but the
irreducible minimum for his livelihood. Section 131(p) of the LGC (R.A. No. 7160) defines a marginal farmer or
fisherman as "an individual engaged in subsistence farming or fishing which shall be limited to the sale, barter or
exchange of agricultural or marine products produced by himself and his immediate family." It bears repeating that
nothing in the record supports a finding that any petitioner falls within these definitions.
 Anent Section 7 of Article XIII, it speaks not only of the use of communal marine and fishing resources, but of their
protection, development and conservation. As hereafter shown, the ordinances in question are meant precisely to
protect and conserve our marine resources to the end that their enjoyment may be guaranteed not only for the
present generation, but also for the generations to come. The so-called "preferential right" of subsistence or marginal
fishermen to the use of marine resources is not at all absolute. In accordance with the Regalian Doctrine, marine
resources belong to the State, and, pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, their
"exploration, development and utilization . . . shall be under the full control and supervision of the State." Moreover,
their mandated protection, development and conservation as necessarily recognized by the framers of the
Constitution, imply certain restrictions on whatever right of enjoyment there may be in favor of anyone.
 In accordance with the Regalian Doctrine, marine resources belong to the state and pursuant to the first paragraph of
Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution, their “exploration, development and utilization...shall be under the full control
and supervision of the State.
 Section 5(c) of the LGC "shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers to the local government units in accelerating
economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people of the community." Under the general welfare
clause of the LGC, local government units have the power, inter alia, to enact ordinances to enhance the right of the
people to a balanced ecology. It likewise specifically vests municipalities with the power to grant fishery privileges in
municipal waters, and impose rentals, fees or charges therefor; to penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the use of
explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other deleterious methods of fishing; and to
prosecute any violation of the provisions of applicable fishery laws. Finally, it imposes upon the sangguniang bayan,
the sangguniang panlungsod, and the sangguniang panlalawigan the duty to enact ordinances to "[p]rotect the
environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing
and other forms of destructive fishing ...and such other activities which result in pollution, acceleration of
eutrophication of rivers and lakes or of ecological imbalance."
 One of the devolved powers enumerated in the section of the LGC on devolution is the enforcement of fishery laws in
municipal waters including the conservation of mangroves. This necessarily includes the enactment of ordinances to
effectively carry out such fishery laws within the municipal waters. The term "municipal waters," in turn, includes not
only streams, lakes, and tidal water within the municipality, not being the subject of private ownership and not
comprised within the national parks, public forest, timber lands, forest reserves, or fishery reserves, but also marine
waters included between two lines drawn perpendicularly to the general coastline from points where the boundary
lines of the municipality or city touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel with the general coastline and fifteen
kilometers from it. Under P.D. No. 704, the marine waters included in municipal waters is limited to three nautical
miles from the general coastline using the above perpendicular lines and a third parallel line.
 The centerpiece of LGC is the system of decentralization as expressly mandated by the Constitution. Indispensable to
decentralization is devolution and the LGC expressly provides that "[a]ny provision on a power of a local government
unit shall be liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of
devolution of powers and of the lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the
power shall be interpreted in favor of the local government unit concerned." Devolution refers to the act by which the
National Government confers power and authority upon the various local government units to perform specific
functions and responsibilities.
 The ordinances find full support under R.A. 7611, otherwise known as the Strategic Environment Plan (SEP) for
Palawan Act, approved on 19 June 1992 which adopts a comprehensive framework for the sustainable development
of Palawan compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of the
province.
 Both Ordinances have two principal objectives or purposes:
(1) To establish a “closed season” for the species of fish or aquatic animals covered therein for a period of five years,
and
(2) To protect the corals of the marine waters of the City of Puerto Princesa and the Province of Palawan from further
destruction due to illegal fishing activities.
 It is incorrect to say that the challenged Ordinance of the City of Puerto Princesa is invalid or unenforceable because
it was not approved by the Secretary of the DENR. If at all, the approval that should be sought would be that of the
Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (not DENR) of municipal ordinances affecting fishing and fisheries in
municipal waters. In closing, we commend the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Puerto Princesa and
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Palawan for exercising the requisite political will to enact urgently needed
legislation to protect and enhance the marine environment, thereby sharing in the herculean task of arresting the tide
of ecological destruction. We hope that other local government units shall now be roused from their lethargy and
adopt a more vigilant stand in the battle against the decimation of our legacy to future generations. At this time, the
repercussions of any further delay in their response may prove disastrous, if not, irreversible.
 In light then of the principles of decentralization and devolution and the powers granted therein to local government
units under the General Welfare Clause (Section 16) and those which involve the exercise of police power (Sections
149, 447 (a) (1) (vi), 458 (a) (1) (vi) and 468 (a) (1) (vi)), the validity of the questioned Ordinances cannot be doubted.
RULING
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the temporary restraining order issued on 11
November 1993 is LIFTED.
(SANTOS, 2B 2017-2018)